Thursday September 22nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the cleaner.

Slower day at the bakery today. Actually had cinnamon buns and croissants left at closing time, along with a half dozen loaves of bread, three baguettes, and two bags worth of ciabatta buns. Made for some extra work at the end of my shift.

While I was working Kat was in town running errands with the boys. On their way back home, as she was driving down Main Street, the car decided to stop working. At least she was able to pull into an open parking spot.

So it's at the garage now, and they'll be looking at it tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed for good news.


"Honey, have you seen my watch?"

"No, sorry."

"Um... have you seen my car keys?"

"Don't you always leave them on the hook in the kitchen?"

"Yeah, but they're not there."

"Maybe Claire moved them when she was tidying up in there this morning."

"I guess that's something she'd do."

"You know how she's always putting stuff back in the wrong spot. It's a good thing she's so nice."

"Yeah, she's a real sweetheart. Hey, do you know where my wallet is?"


"It's just... I could have sworn I left it right here."

"It'll turn up eventually."

"I guess. Oh... have you s-"

"I'm trying to get dinner ready in here! Can't it wait until later?"

"I guess. It's just... I feel like maybe we should know where our baby is right now..."


morganna said...

The baby's halfway to the state line by now ...

Recycle, donate,
Toss -- everything has a place
For a clean room.

Sorry, that's all I've got today.

Greg said...

@Morganna: You win the comments for this week for that first line alone!
I've tried doing what you've described in your poem before and it really works (so long as you convince yourself beforehand that anything that isn't "I need this in the next two weeks" is to be tossed), but it never lasts.... But I still believe in it, and I love the way you've presented it.

@Marc:I hope the car is all good and the problem was a cheap, easily fixed one. I can imagine that it wasn't a pleasant experience for Kat though -- and I'm very glad there was that open parking spot available for her.
Well, Morganna beats everything I might have said today with her perfectly apt comment. What you've written is excellent (as usual) but she's delivered the punch-line :)

The cleaner
The clouds were dark grey and moving in fast. The river was the colour of heat-treated steel; rainbow slicks of oil moved uncomfortably across its surface. Jack watched it from the upper deck of the bus as it crossed the Vauxhall bridge -- only reopened for six months and already one lane was closed off for roadworks. The river made him feel momentarily nauseous but he knew the reason for the seeming pollution and that helped. A little. As the bus reached the far-side of the bridge it turned to the left heading towards the Oval cricket ground. There was talk of building a bus terminus here, and there was no talk at all of what was being built opposite it. Jack stood up, rang the bell, and got off at the next stop.
He walked to the first corner, and then headed down the street back towards the river. Halfway along was a dirty-brown brick building with a smoked-glass door. There were sixteen buzzers in a neat 8x2 panel, each with a name next to them scrawled in blue biro. Jack pressed six of them quickly, and the door buzzed, clicked, and he pushed it open and went it.
The Cleaner's office was on the third floor at the end of a long corridor with no other doors off it. All access to the spaces here was through the Cleaner's office and Jack had never seen them. The office door was already open when he arrived, so he hovered at the threshold, nervous to even tap on the door.
"Jack." The voice was deep, even, and seemed to resonate slightly. "This is a surprise." He didn't sound surprised.
A shadow fell over him as the Cleaner rose from his desk and obscured much of the light. Jack tried hard not to tremble, but his left leg was ignoring him. A newspaper was unfolded, opened, and a page presented to him.
"This is the house you were investigating."
Words leapt off the page into his brain: Explosion, Suspected gas leak, freak weather conditions, fourteen dead, satanic bacchanale?
"We thought you were still inside."
Jack pulled his notes from his inside pocket and held them out. "I left when I found this," he said, the diagram on the first page clearly visible. "I couldn't have done any-"
The shadow receded as the Cleaner sat back down.
"We are pleased you're not dead."

Marc said...

Morganna - yes, probably :)

And yup, keep it to those three categories and you should get pretty far. The trouble, I've found, is that somehow I always end up adding 'keep' as a fourth... :P

Greg - well, it wasn't cheap... but at least we've got it back and it's working fine (so far!).

This is an intriguing addition to the tale of Jack. Great scene. Really like the way you introduced and presented the Cleaner. Hoping that more of this is waiting for me as I continue on my quest to catch up on comments :)